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College football: Notre Dame, Navy game moved out of Ireland

Notre Dame and Navy will no longer play their Aug. 29 football game in Dublin, Ireland, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Notre Dame announced Tuesday morning that the clash will now be played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md. The game was initially scheduled to be played at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium. The 2020 matchup of the rivalry will likely be played on Labor Day weekend and air on ESPN or ABC.

“Our student-athletes have had great experiences competing in Ireland and are very disappointed not to be returning to Dublin in 2020,” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said. “The change of venue has been a very difficult decision for our colleagues at the Naval Academy, but we are in full support of their choice.

“We are also grateful for everything our partners in Ireland have done to make this a smooth transition. We look forward to going back to Ireland for a game in the not too distant future.”

Notre Dame said they had “extensive consultation” with the Irish government, medical authorities and the administrative staff at Navy before the venue change.

“We are obviously disappointed not to be traveling to Ireland this August,” Naval Academy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said. “But, as expected, our priority must be ensuring the health and safety of all involved.

“I am expecting that we will still be able to play Notre Dame as our season opener, but there is still much to be determined by health officials and those that govern college football at large. Once we have a definitive plan in place, we will announce the specifics pertaining to the game.”

More than 35,000 fans from the United States attended the last edition of the rivalry played at Aviva Stadium in 2012. About 40,000 people from the United States were expected to attend the 2020 game in Dublin.

The new venue will result in the first time Notre Dame visits Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in the 94-year span of the rivalry. Previous games hosted by Navy were played at a neutral site. Notre Dame is 79-13-1 in the series.

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